Posted By thecook on November 26th, 2013
This year Macaroon simplified my Christmas wrapping and made the task rather pleasurable with their wonderful workshop, rolls of wrapping paper, beautiful festive tags but most importantly: Their cannot-live-without handy tape dispenser ( I would rather make use of gift bags than sit and tear off sellotape with my teeth).
Look out for Christmas décor at various retail shops for your wrapping and even make use of your outdated Christmas tree décor (but throw out the tinsel please).
Little star decorations and brown birds, Mr Price. White paper, ribbon and tags Macaroon.
Lindt chocolate and reindeer decor Woolworths. White paper, ribbon and tags Macaroon.
Candy canes Checkers, Bell hearts Woolworths, wrapping paper, tags and ribbon Macaroon.
Bags Wespack, Candy Canes Checkers, Teacher tags Macaroon, twine and Washi tape In Good Company
Brown paper and Twine Wespack, bells Woolworths, stickers and stamps Macaroon.
Hessian Lifestyle, Doily’s Wespack, Tags -printable under FABULOUSLY FESTIVE, stamps Typo.
Brown paper and Doily’ Wespack, ribbon In Good Company, Birds A2 interiors.
Posted By thecook on November 14th, 2013
Blogging is not what it used to be. Well for me that is, because a demanding 19- month old tugs on my camera strap, yanks at my table cloth and styled display and asks to taste everything. It’s just exhausting.
This, combined with a frantic year-end Christmas course has ensured blogging, baking and photography takes a back seat.
Well that was until a gorgeous NoMU gift pack arrived at my door.
The intriguing part about these flop-proof kits is the versatility, for example the cake mixes can be used for tray bakes, bundt cakes, madeleines, lamingtons and cupcakes. The breakfast muffin is a perfect carrot cake base, the oatmeal cookie kit can be turned in muesli bars and crumble toppings and the plain cookie mix can be transformed into shortbread with some added mazeina and butter.
The hardest part about these kits is deciding what to make and eventually the chocolate fondant kit was left to its original purpose and nothing else was added.
No mixer was required, it took a minute of combining the ingredients by hand , greasing the cases (which are cleverly provided) and in under 8 minutes I had the most delicious and perfect fondants to which I added some festive flare for a Christmas treat. Just add some ice cream, with folded mincemeat or cranberries and you have a lovely and showy dessert.
Now if everything came in a kit form and tasted so good, blogging would be a piece of cake-a chocolate fondant cake that is!
Posted By thecook on November 8th, 2013
Posted By thecook on November 6th, 2013
Fabulous gift wrapping, party tables, festive food and gorgeous woman sharing and showcasing their talent. All this with champagne in one hand and wedge of Camembert with relish in the other. Need I say more?
Posted By thecook on October 17th, 2013
Cool down this summer with a glass of chilled Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay 2013. Its smooth and creamy texture, with lovely tropical fruit, citrus and lime flavours makes a great match with a country-style potjie brimming with fresh seafood. Invite family and friends to celebrate summer to the full with this great South African holiday treat!
Drostdy-Hof Chardonnay 2013 is available in 750 ml bottle and 3-litre bag-in-box packaging at liquor outlets nationwide.
Posted By thecook on October 13th, 2013
“Apple crumble” hardly elicits mutters and moans but the minute you have a bite of the classic crumble you are immediately reminded of why it’s still around. Raisins unfortunately did this delicious fruit pudding a disservice but in my version there are no traces of old fashioned ginger, cinnamon and raisins, but rather a salty sweetness and a sticky sauce and a whole new delicious revival.
I also discovered (accidentally) that instead of only crumbling your topping until a sandy mixture is obtained, it should be over-worked and allowed to come together so that when you add your granola, it’s more on the clumpy side. This yields a crispier cobbler type crumble, which is much more exciting and layered with texture.
Posted By thecook on September 12th, 2013
I am not going to dwell on many descriptive words here as the beautiful interior, products and merchandising of the new Macaroon store in Greenside says it all.
The pure pleasure of the new concept is that you can browse, feel, get inspired, touch plus shop online in the store with help (and a cup of coffee) from the Macaroon team, with designers on hand to guide you through colour charts and choices.
Once you have placed your order, pick a stylish postcard write a love note and Macaroon will simply post it off to someone special.
Browse through their range of stylish stationery and gifts on
Posted By thecook on August 19th, 2013
“Here is a sauce that turns decent people savage” writes Andrea Burgener about her best-ever cinnamon-fudge sauce in her delicious book Lampedusa Pie.
Andrea is the sauce queen in my books, as she already claims the best-ever peanut sauce (which now features in the book too).
I do savage. Frequently. And so when I read her description I had to make, then tweak and then re-make (twice a week for the past 2 months I might add) the sauce.
People probably turn savage for her sauce because she makes a scant amount and so the first tweaking was doubling the sauce. The second bit of tweaking involved changing the cinnamon for Maldon salt and then getting a measurement of butter outside of a tablespoon ( I hate measuring butter in a spoon). Those are the only changes I made so I cannot claim this sauce in any way.
The flavour of the burnt sugar adds such depth to the sauce, almost like the topping of a crème brûlée. Andrea likes her served hot. I like mine chilled, which requires more cream, or hot water so that it’s able to pour.
I serve this weekly on my course with my apple crumble, made with caramelised apple juice and topped with a chunky granola crumble, alongside salted caramel ice-cream.
And yes, as I watch everybody’s faces after the first spoon, I do see a bit of savage.
Burnt salted fudge Sauce
75g butter (75g is a measurement on a 250g brick of Woolies butter, so no need to weigh it)
2 cups light brown sugar
500ml cream + more for a chilled sauce*
1. Place the sugar and butter in a pot on a fairly high heat and stir until the sugar starts to melt (about 10 minutes). It will turn crumbly, split and then start to thicken –to look almost like fudge.
2. Keep stirring until the caramel becomes smooth as the sugar melts (you may notice an increase in the smoke from the pot). Keep stirring until it goes a very dark brown and looks as if it may start to burn.
3. Add the cream and step away from the pot as the cream will splatter.
4. It takes another 5-10 minutes for the sugar lumps to dissolve again, just keep stirring.
5. Cool slightly and add Maldon salt to taste (start with a teaspoon and crumble it into the sauce)
6. Serve immediately as a hot sauce, or add another tub of cream for a chilled sauce.
Posted By thecook on August 1st, 2013
Posted By thecook on July 30th, 2013
Last weekend we finally fired up our wood burning pizza oven. I must confess I secretly delayed this occasion for an entire month because I was afraid my non-existent pizza skills would not live up to the aesthetics.
You see, as the chief cook of the home, I was in charge of the entire process: Measuring and plotting the foundation, the design, paint colours and techniques, work top and the African mosaic design (still to come).
While I had experts assisting me with the structure (Italoven) and landscaping (Four Seasons Gardens) I was afraid my whole look would go up in smoke with the first disappointing pizza.
Our pizza making started at 1PM on Saturday and ended at 5PM on Sunday.
The secret is a good teacher and expert pizza maker and Tony Rose from Tony’s Spaghetti was on hand to guide us from a very hot oven (400 ˚+) to pulling the dough and not rolling it.
My brother-in-laws dough recipe, my toppings ( which included 8 hour pulled lamb and Jalapeños, Labneh cheese, pancetta and gooseberry jam , Buffalo Mozzarella and freshly snipped basil) and wonderful friends and family ensured the pizza lived up to the oven!
The Dough recipe
PIZZA DOUGH (6 pizzas)
This is half the original recipe as I like to use my kitchen aid and dough hook, but feel free to double the recipe and knead it for a good 5 minutes.
500g white bread flour
300ml + water-tepid
1. Place the dry ingredients in the bowl and whisk while adding the water. If the recipe is too dry add more water.
2. The consistency is perfect when it is still sticky but dry enough to just come away from the bowl.
3. Add to a very well-oiled dish, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise
4. When double in size knock down, knead and roll into a sausage, cut into 6 slices.
5. Roll each slice into a ball. Place on a floured tray, cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise again.